Easter Sunday – April 5, 2015

Today’s Reading: Mark 16:1-8

“He has risen; he is not here.” – Mark 16:6

For the two Marys who went to the tomb early that Sunday morning. It must have seemed like the end. They went there to finish preparing the body for burial, a task that had been interrupted on Friday afternoon. When they reached the tomb, Jesus’ body was nowhere to be found and an angel announced to them “He is risen; he is not here.” Although they initially didn’t understand what had happened and fled in fear and confusion, in a short time they and the other followers of Jesus would come to understand the truth. Jesus was no longer dead. He was alive. Their journey with Him, which they had thought was over, really wasn’t over at all. Jesus’ resurrection validated everything He had done and taught them. He was alive and would be for eternity. And that meant that they would have eternal life as well.

A short time before His own death and resurrection, Jesus raised His friend Lazarus from the dead and said, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.” (John 11:25). Several decades later St. Paul would write, “But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.” (1 Cor. 15:20). Just as Christ died and rose again, we too have the assurance of our own resurrection and eternal life. We are connected to Christ’s death and resurrection in Baptism, in which all who believe receive forgiveness of sins, rescue from death and the devil, and eternal salvation.

Although our physical death may seem to be the end, it really isn’t. Instead, in Christ it is a continuation of our journey with Him that began at Baptism and will continue forever. And so today, Easter Sunday is not an end either, but a blessed beginning. A beginning we celebrate over and over again every Sunday of every week. May you be richly blessed by God as you continue the journey with Christ for eternity.

Prayer: If Christ still lay within the tomb Then death would be the end, And we should face our final doom With neither guide nor friend. But now the Savior is raised up, So when a Christian dies We mourn, yet look to God in hope—In Christ the saints arise!” (If Christ Had Not Been Raised From Death, LSB 486:2).

This devotion was written by Rev. David Hansen, pastor at King of Glory Lutheran Church in Swisher, IA and Saint John Lutheran Church in Center Point, IA.

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